2nd Korean Cruise (1952-53)

“A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Bridge”

Memory from: Reverand Herman A. Soderberg, Electrician's Mate 3rd class

Setting the Scene

Sailors love letters. Correspondence from home—either from friends or family, but most especially girlfriends and wives—is something that is greatly anticipated and dearly treasured, whether during wartime or peacetime cruises. The entry below comes to us from Reverand Herman A. Soderberg, Electrician's Mate 3rd class, courtesy of Tin Can Sailors, Inc. In it, Reverand Soderberg recounts an incident during the KIDD's second Korean cruise in which his personal correspondence caused a problem of almost "biblical proportions."

The Recollection

It was at the height of the Korean War when it happened. We were steaming in the South Pacific at the time. I had just been reassigned to the USS KIDD after being trained at Treasure Island on a state-of-the-art radar repeater. Before I had left the States, I had proposed to a young lady who I had met much earlier (about a year or so) on a train on the way back to Chicago on my way to the Great Lakes Electronics School. Unknown to me, a message addressed to me had been received by the bridge at the height of paranoia when all messages were suspect. The on-duty officers (and maybe some of the off-duty officers as well) studied the biblical reference in the telegram, looking with deep intent on any possible hidden messages. No one could decipher the reference. I suspected that it was the first time, for some, that they had “cracked” the holy book. Running out of answers, they finally called me to the bridge. The captain handed me the cryptic telegram waiting for me to explain the message. There was a biblical reference from the Book of Psalms. Her message was very simple, “He has shown me the way, let us serve Him together till death do us part.” I smiled and looked back at the captain and replied with a wide grin, “She wants to marry me!” I think it was the first day of the beginning of my Christian ministry.

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